What I didn't know as a first time business coach

From Overcoming Hardships to Small Business CEO

What I Wasn’t Prepared for as a Business Coach

When I began coaching business owners in 2016, I didn’t really understand the full impact that our personal lives and relationships have on business. At the time, I thought most people compartmentalized their personal lives — at least this is what I was taught to do in my corporate job. I vividly remember being told to “leave your personal life at the door” in my early career days.  However, it only took a few SOWBO clients for me to realize that our personal lives greatly impact our business. Personal experiences shape how we conduct business. In fact, business IS PERSONAL and overcoming hardships are often part of an entrepreneur’s story.

It is common for clients to bring up severe past or present trauma or personal hardships in a coaching session, especially when I ask, “Where is this doubt/fear/defeat coming from?” The root cause of many mindset blocks have to do with circumstances outside of business. 

Trauma and Hardships our Clients Have Faced

When I first started this article, I actually began with the list of what my clients have been through . . .

Narcissist abuse

Sexual assault 

Verbal & mental abuse 

Mental disorders  


Broken marriages

Broken friendships 

Extreme loss 





Failed businesses 




Death of a loved one




Rebellious children 

Marital affairs 

Aging parents 

Isolation / depression 

Lack of intimacy 


Eating disorders 

Body dysmorphia

Cult victim 

The reality is… how could this not impact the way we manage or run our business? These situations often cause deep rooted doubt, hopelessness, defeat, low energy, loneliness, fear, timidness, negativity, overthinking, sadness, comparison, devalued worth, guilt, and even shame. Even the most healed person subconsciously battles these deeply rooted mind blocks. It’s human nature. 

Can anything be done?

Yes. The solution is to find the cause of the mindset block, acknowledge the trauma or hardship, identify the truth behind the situation, and then look for an alternative perspective. This is the only way to allow the next vital step for business. 

Full Transparency: This process is way easier said than done. Whether a client claims that they’ve “healed” from their past hardships or even that they are extremely self-aware…. The block can still happen. It truly takes an outside perspective to recognize it and help someone move through the steps.

Be Encouraged: Our Past Trauma and Overcoming Hardships Gives Purpose

On the flip side, if you’ve overcome any of these circumstances, then you need to know that you have something ingrained in your body, mind, and spirit that every entrepreneur NEEDS to be successful. What exactly? Strength. Perseverance. Expanded perspective. Patience. Understanding. Wisdom. Courage. Boldness. Passion. Flexible planning. Released control. Self-awareness. Comfort zone expansion. Boundaries. Purpose. Authenticity. Power. 

And most importantly: the recognition that your story can become someone else’s survival guide. Those hard trials have equipped you (or are currently equipping you) for future hard things. Guess what? Entrepreneurship is freakin’ hard. I honestly believe that our community at SOWBO is so amazing because of all the overcoming we’ve collectively done and overcame. The purpose and passion that’s constantly brewing inside our community is unmatched. 

I Changed my Coaching Strategy

I wasn't prepared as a business coach and had to learn later

Once I realized how much it all intertwined, I changed my coaching strategy. Rather than goals being all business related, I started asking my clients to set goals for three areas: business, relationships, and health. I determined that these three areas had to be in full view when planning realistic next steps. These three areas all impact one another. 

There are also seasons in life where one of these areas takes precedent over the other two. The buzz phrase reminds us to have “work-life balance,” but reality is that we live in a society that focuses on one of two extremes: hustle or self-care. Both are necessary, but you can’t have them at the same time. 

This is why I teach my clients that we have to make goals and plans from a holistic view of business, relationships, and health. By identifying what is needed to work on in each area, we are able to determine if the upcoming season will be spent more on a self-care routine, diving intimately into relationships, or engendering a hustle-environment. We need seasons of all three if we want to be successful and joy-filled entrepreneurs. 

Business and Life: Facing Trauma and Overcoming Hardships

Your business should make money. It should also honor your most important relationships. It should even allow for you to be healthy and happy. 

Think about it. Have you ever been in a bad place with your spouse? In the moment, you recognize that the relationship needs more focus than the other areas. Rather than work extra hours on a project, you decide to spend quality time having intimate conversations with your person. Once your relationship is smoothed out, you feel an inner permission to shift your focus back onto business. 

What about when someone close to you passes away? Rather than work around the clock in order to avoid the grieving process, you decide to take a break to properly process, grieve, and heal. 

What about if you have a cancer scare? Life immediately shifts focus and you put most everything else on autopilot until you figure out exactly what is happening in your body. This list is never ending because life’s difficult circumstances are never ending, but the pattern is the same: put the hustle on hold and take care of yourself or your relationships and work on overcoming those hardships.

Permission Granted

If you’re not setting your goals and making business plans from this holistic view, then, ma’am, I give you permission to do so. 

It’s important for you to keep your hand on the pulse of these areas while also being flexible to adjust when something feels off. By doing this, you will reduce pressure and get closer to a life that brings fulfillment and joy. Surround yourself with others who have these same values so that they can hold you accountable and listen for warning signs that an area might need attention.

After reading that full list of trauma and hardships, my heart felt heavy, but also… proud. Life is hard. Entrepreneurship is hard. The women in SOWBO are freakin’ beasts! Warriors!! They’ve overcome so much and continue to fight through all the obstacles that get thrown their way. 

If you’re looking for courageous, unstoppable, passionate women warriors who know their purpose… you’re in the right spot. SOWBO is filled with them

Bringing women with creative spirits, 
business minds, and big hearts together.

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